Cisco Systems laid another plank in its efforts to become a single stop shop for data center clients this week by forming a broad partnership with storage giant EMC.

Under the terms of the partnership the two companies will form a joint venture called Acadia that will sell their combined offerings to data center clients. The announcement laid to rest rumors that the companies may in fact merge after working together for several years to bundle their offerings. In a press conference Tuesday, the heads of both companies said such speculation was unfounded.

Instead, the companies hope to become a primary infrastructure provider to the booming data center market as well as offer products to the emerging cloud computing market. The Acadia venture will include virtualization technologies from VMware, a subsidiary of EMC. Intel is also a minority investor.

“Today’s announcement addresses our customers’ greatest challenges and opportunities in the data center,” Cisco Chairman John Chambers said in a statement. “This coalition is about more than technology and partnership. It is about an entirely new and unique approach to the data center that improves utilization, power consumption and security of information . . .”

Research firm McKinsey & Co. estimates that worldwide spending on data center technology infrastructure and services exceeds $350 billion a year, with half of that spent on capital expenses (products) and half on operating expenses. It is also estimated that the market for virtualization and private cloud technology could reach $85 billion by 2015.

 The companies said Acadia should begin customer operations by the first quarter of 2010.




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